Large appliances like your refrigerator or freezer cost you money in two ways. Not only are they high ticket items for initial purchase, they are also high energy consumers. It only makes sense that keeping them at peak efficiency will not only save you on monthly energy costs but also extend the life of your appliance.
When purchasing a new refrigerator or freezer, you will first need to evaluate your family’s needs. Buy only as large as needed. Also remember that extras such as ice-makers will add to the purchase price as well as the energy needed to run the appliance. Before adding any extra features, be sure you really need it or will use it enough to make the cost worth the convenience. Use the energy guide labels to buy the most efficient model that you can afford.
Locate refrigerators or freezers in the coldest part of the kitchen and away from any heat sources. Keep in mind that heat sources include heaters, your stove, and direct sunlight. Set the temperature controls of your refrigerator to 38 degrees and at 0 degrees for your stand alone freezer. Let hot foods cool before putting in the refrigerator and open the door as little as possible. Don’t make your appliance work harder than it has to.
Any refrigerator or freezer works more efficiently when full. The cold items already inside help maintain temperature with less energy use. When you get low on food, take empty milk jugs and fill with water to fill in the space. If freezing, leave an inch or so of expansion room. I also use zipper bags filled with ice cubes in my freezer. It not only helps keep my freezer running at maximum efficiency, I never have to buy ice for coolers in the summertime.
Proper maintenance will help save on energy costs and extend the life of your appliance. Periodically, check the door gaskets to ensure they’re in good order and providing a tight seal. An easy way to test the seal is by closing the door on a dollar bill. If you can pull the dollar out easily, it is time to replace the gasket. If you have a damaged spot but the seal is still tight, you can repair it yourself using self-stick foam tape. Finally, vacuum the coils (found either behind or underneath the unit) twice a year.
Taking these steps to improve and properly maintain the efficiency of your appliances will save you in two ways. They will cost you less to run so will lower your monthly energy bill. You will also extend the life of your appliance so will save on the high cost of replacements.